When you cook at home, whether for yourself or for a big family, there is almost always going to be leftovers. Leftovers are a great solution for future meals or nights where you don’t quite feel like whipping something up from scratch. But the problem with leftovers is that you sometimes end up with way too much or way too little.
The issue here is you often end up with too much of something and you feel like you’ll get sick of eating it and throw it away, or you end up with too little for another meal and throw it away. Well, before you toss away your leftovers stop and read this!
There are simple ways to stretch your leftovers from one meal into multiple meals; both by getting more meals out of a small amount of leftovers or getting through massive leftovers without getting sick of them.
Repurpose the dish
One of the best ways to stretch a meal’s leftovers without eating the same thing multiple times is to find fun ways to repurpose one dish into another. This is especially nice when it comes to dinner time with the rest of the family because you get to bring a fantastic new dish to the table without much extra effort! Tacos are a great example. If you have an abundance of taco ingredients and don’t want tacos for three days straight, make a Mexican soup or a Mexican casserole.
There are many, many dishes that you should be able to do this with! For some inspiration, be sure to grab a copy of our free Leftovers Cookbook.
Just add beans
Have leftover soup that is heavy on broth but light on filler? How about a salad that’s light on toppings? Just add beans! Beans are one of the single best ingredients you can add to leftovers to help stretch them out. The heartiness and flavor they can add to just about any dish makes them the perfect addition to any leftovers that are lacking and could use and extra protein boost. Keeping a couple jars of Randall Beans handy in your pantry is a great way to prep ahead for your leftover dinner nights.
Freeze what you can’t eat
Whether you’ve got a lot or a little leftover, sometimes you just know that you aren’t going to eat it in the next couple days. You may be getting ready to leave town or maybe you already have a couple more meals planned out. Don’t throw it away: freeze it instead! Meat, soups, stews, casseroles, and other recipes save well in the freezer for quiet a while and can be saved for a new dinner another day.
Mix and match with pantry items
Beans are a great addition to leftovers, but they probably aren’t they only thing in your pantry that you can add to your leftovers to help stretch them out. Adding rice, pasta, quinoa, veggies, or combining leftovers from a different night that you have around the house each help not only pack more in and get more servings out of a single leftover dish, but help add a whole new dimension or flavors to the dish. Serving a leftover soup or stew over rice or pasta helps give it more of a filling body. Leftover chicken sliced up and paired with some leftover veggies from another night can create a delicious stir fry in moments flat!
Want to see more great ways to stretch leftovers? Here’s a free copy of our Leftovers cookbook!